When I was a teenager I barrel raced competitively. This meant crisscrossing the state for something like 30 weekends a year. Most of those trips were spent sitting next to my dad in the front seat of our Ford F250, pulling a horse trailer containing my beloved Tru and Blackjack, Quarter Horse geldings that I adored. On every trip that crisscrossed I-80, my dad would quiz me on Nevada’s geography.
“You have to know your geography,” he would tell me.
Three weeks ago I made that trip with my own kids in tow and mentally checked off the geographic markers that I had memorized so many years ago.
The Santa Rosas.
Valmy Power Plant.
The lights of Carlin.
And finally Elko where we spent the night after a treacherous snow-filled first leg of our trip. There’s a certain poetry to spending my last night in Nevada in the same place where the Nevada chapter of my life began.
Each landmark or town brought memories of events and people to my mind. I spent that five hour trip reliving my formative years and thinking about the next chapter.
But whoa…I”m getting ahead of myself. Last night in Nevada, you’re asking? Yes. About 6 months ago my husband was recruited for a job at the University of Wyoming and three weeks ago we packed up our lives, sold our house and made the move.
If you’ve been to Wyoming, right now you’re thinking about how beautiful (and maybe about how cold) it is. If you haven’t you’re probably thinking, “Wyoming? Is that a state? Where is that?”
My husband and I were raised in rural Nevada and Colorado and we have always dreamed of raising our kids in a similar place. You see, if you’ve grown up as a rural kid, there are certain things that cannot be learned while living in a big city (and yes, I know by many people’s standards, Reno is not big, but to us it is). I grew up in Elko County and it shaped me in ways that to this day surprise me. I grew up in a way that challenged me, rewarded me with the love of horses, dogs and Lamoille Canyon and left me resourceful and resilient. I learned to (literally) get back on when you got bucked off and I learned to be tough. I spent my summers working hay fields and exploring the outdoors. I bucked hay and ran through fields and rode my horse to my best friend’s house. I wish I could more eloquently describe the way rural Nevada made me the person I am today. I wish I could tell you what it’s like to stand under a sky full of stars on a cold winter’s night and feel like you’re part of it all.
All I can say is that growing up in a rural area gave me a certain type of confidence that I don’t see very often in other women. I don’t mean for that to sound cocky or arrogant. I see it in my childhood friends who I grew up with and still am friends with. We’re the type of women who don’t shy away from snowy roads, tying knots, shooting guns, working side by side and doing the same work as men or driving pick-ups. And maybe that sounds a little redneck or hick, but I’m ok with that. Growing up in a place that is somewhat isolated and where you have to learn to take care of yourself, respect the land, and value family shapes your values in a million ways.
I guess the best way to describe the way I was raised can be summed up by the Code of the West:
1) Live each day with courage.
2) Take pride in your work.
3) Always finish what you start.
4) Do what has to be done.
5) Be tough, but fair.
6) When you make a promise, keep it.
7) Ride for the brand.
8) Talk less and say more.
9) Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
10) Know where to draw the line
It’s probably why I have such a hard time dealing with people who are a-holes. But I digress.
If this is starting to sound like a love letter to Nevada then I’m accomplishing what I hoped to. I love that state. I love the people. I love my memories of getting up early to feed horses, school bus trips that took forever, driving 3 hours to get to the nearest mall, that very short moment when the leaves turned in the Rubies, the high dessert, the smell of wet sage and horse sweat, Lake Tahoe and my time at the University of Nevada. I could even admit that I love the craziness of Vegas, albeit in small doses.
It’s that love and memories that made my husband and I seek out a place where we could provide our kids with what we had. It’s too early to be positive, but we’re pretty sure we’ve found that place in Laramie, WY.
Saying goodbye is so hard and one of the hardest goodbyes I’m saying is to the group of ladies behind Reno Moms Blog. This group of women is phenomenal and behind the scenes a sisterhood has formed. They support me and each other, share pieces of their lives with you every month and have made this site the success that it is. I can’t tell you how happy it makes my heart to see the friendships that have bloomed from this project. When this project started almost two years ago I wasn’t sure where it would go. Now to see the community it has created….Wow….Just Wow.
So while I have moved out of state, I will still occasionally contribute to RMB giving you an update on our Wyoming adventure and what life is like in another state. While I may not be a Reno Mom anymore, a piece of my heart is there and it lives on with this site.
Thank you Reno Moms for creating this much-needed community in Reno. Each time someone visits the site I am absolutely honored.